operation oaxaca: the rock.

betting on geothermal energy. (029)

Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez
6 min readMar 17, 2024

this is carlos.

at some point, humanity will need energy.

and more energy requires more technology.

and tech needs materials.

materials need their raw components.

and those are underground.

we’ll need to mine.

but no!!

let’s reduce:

a. the amount of primary mining we do for the raw minerals

b. preserve land/territory.

what’s the point of having clean energy if we have to fill up a country with solar panels?

that won’t happen, most likely, but just sayin’…

the world is like a jigsaw puzzle.

you have to put all the pieces together from scratch.

but there’s a catch.

these pieces can change.

one moment, it has a piece of the pacific ocean.

next thing you know, it has suriname on it.

change is inevitable.

i must adapt the hunger, the pain of my village,

and orient it concerning the ever-shifting world.

now, i know where to move.

clean energy technologies.

but who to pick?

it will be geothermal.

not wind or solar.


here’s why.


geothermal 101.

it accounts for less than one percent of global electricity generation capacity according the international energy association in 2019 (IEA)

this one percent is distributed between twenty countries.

and without a doubt,

the usa is the world’s largest producer, at about 2.5 gigawatts in 2018.

it can be used for:

  • electricity generation (direct or indirect use).
  • or co-generation.

some limitations include that it must:

  • be generated in locations with high or medium temperatures.
  • it typically occurs close to tectonically active regions.

the hot water and/or steam must be carried to the earth’s surface or can be accessed at shallow depths.

some countries sit on these tectonically active regions… and they’ve taken advantage.

geothermal covers a significant share of electricity demand in countries such as iceland, el Salvador, new zealand, kenya and the philippines.

it meets more than 90% of the heating demand in iceland.

the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from geothermal power projects averaged between USD 0.049 — USD 0.085 per kWh between 2010 — 2020.

LCOE → calculating the average net present cost of electricity generation for a power plant over its lifetime.

the electricity made via geothermal sources goes like this:

thermal energy is located below the earth’s surface.

it’s either in liquid, trapped steam, or rock.

but to access that steam…

it’ll demand a very high level of quality metal/steel to carry reservoirs of steam and hot water for electricity generation.

but with steel, we must prevent corrosion (or contact with oxygen atoms).

no rusting.

so we need corrosion-resistant alloys.

for geothermal plants, we’ll need minerals like titanium & molybdenum.

but how much of these minerals do we need?

it’ll depend on the number and depth of wells needed to access geothermal energy.

but geothermal uses relatively more steel than wind.

about approximately 6–10 times as much per megawatt of capacity.


geothermal requires steel alloys with a large quantity of titanium to cope with the high heat and pressure in geothermal power generation.

and people.

the good geothermal energy is some 2 — 12 miles beneath the earth’s crust.

the rock is so hot that if water could be pumped to the area it would become supercritical…a steam-like phase that most people aren’t familiar with.

it’s where a liquid and a gas are the same thing.

so the water has properties of liquid and gas simultaneously.

the supercritical water can carry some 5–10 times more energy than regular hot water.

the supercritical fluid has a higher heat content & lower density than liquid water… allowing it to carry significantly more energy.

this is the energy we need!!!

…if we could pump it back up to the surface to turbines that could convert it into electricity.

the problem?

we can’t drill down far enough.

the drills typically come from the oil and gas industries.

they can’t withstand the temperatures & pressures miles down in the Earth’s crust.

and the lower you go, it becomes exponentially more expensive.

as for the market…

there are reasons to explain why geothermal energy is not in the headlines like wind/solar.

but the big one is that if you are not near a tectonically active zone/country….

the people don’t have to utilize geothermal energy.

oil and gas is the industry that’s best positioned to scale geothermal.


oil and gas have certain technologies that can be used for reaching geothermal technology… just like how the oil/gas industry utilized their products.

and deep geothermal requires a significant investment from the industry.

but if the world wants to rely on operating oil and gas fields, geothermal won’t move.

in the 1%.

deep geothermal energy extraction occurs underground by utilizing the earth’s natural heat.

this method lowers the area needed for energy production.

good use of land.

solar and wind energy systems require additional materials beyond solar panels and wind turbines that deep geothermal energy does not need.

these materials include:

  • batteries (energy storage systems)
  • rare-earth elements (molybdenum, neodymium, tellurium, etc.)
  • transmission lines (attempting to connect energy to the grid)
  • fuels (oil, gas, etc.)
  • support structures (frames, mounts, towers)

but most importantly, it’s the land.

trust me, the human population will need land for agriculture and housing.

so we must be cautious about how much territory we utilize to harness the world’s power.

and according to quaise energy:

utilizing deep geothermal energy (>0.3 miles into earth’s crust) uses less than 1% of the land and materials of other renewables.

this makes it the only option for a sustainable clean energy transition.

(earth’s crust is accessible to anyone. but maybe not sun/wind.)

and this is my bet.

i will make (oo) become the place for geothermal energy tech to get its recycled minerals AND reduce primary mining.

but i will leave with this notion from carlos araque:

i’m not doing the company i’m doing and spending my life force doing it for a 1-5% piece of the (electricity generation) pie.

so imma make sure i don’t make the mistake that he considered:

fight for a small nudge.

go big or go home… if it’s possible to lower primary mining by a big factor.

© 2024–2100 by Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez. All Rights Reserved.